A Kinrowan Estate storyA Tale of Indexes

I found this exceedingly suspect story in a Sleeping Hedgehog published in 1889. There was no author indicated.

The indexes were quietly sobbing again in protest as the librarian’s apprentice misfiled ‘McZweygle, Doris F., A Receipt Book for the Proper Preparation, Garnishing, and Serving of the Salmon of Wisdom’ (sadly, the magic charm of the traditional Alphabet Song can only extend its power so far), while the library ladder looked on with its characteristic air of mockery, gleefully anticipating the inevitable row which would occur when the Master Librarian returned. During the previous week’s dust-up a transformation spell had gone quite astray, with the result that most of the objects in the library had been left feeling out of sorts and unsettled.

The indexes, poor things, felt the disorder most keenly and their restless rufflings had even spooked one of the library cats (although, to be fair, why a cat suddenly levitates straight up into the air and teleports itself from a room, well . . . ours is not to reason why).

When the librarian’s apprentice misfiled ‘Ware-Elfrinke, Basil, On the Particulars of Lexomancy and the Care of Cataloguing Systems for Magical Libraries,’ a soft sound — something between a sigh and a shuddering breath — shivered faintly upon the slightly dusty air of the library. Master Librarian Mackenzie claimed that the dust in the library represented the knowledge which sticks to the persistent and undaunted scholar.

The librarian’s apprentice, who was slightly allergic to dust and had a special filter for his vacuum cleaner in order to keep his own tiny room dust-free, sneezed three times in quick succession before continuing on with his shelving duties.

As the afternoon waned and the anticipated return of the Master Librarian drew ever nigh, the pair of gargoyle bookends on the Master Librarian’s desk began to nervously furl and unfurl their wings, and the library ladder practically wriggled in a paroxysm of anticipatory delight….

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I was hanged upon That Tree and I talk to My Ravens, Huginn and Muninn. Isn’t that enough to say about myself?

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